Help! I don't fit in | Rachel Bond
We're coming up to our first birthday at Werbs and it's amazing to look back and see all that God has done and how far we've come!
Andy and I had a bit of a funny start here in Derby.
I was still living in London with the children whilst Andy spent most of his time here and came home for a few days each week. We finally all moved up together after 2 months of him starting 'our new life' whilst I remained in the old one.
It was only 2 months but I felt late to the party. Andy already knew people and had begun to make friends. He knew his way round town and very importantly the best places for coffee! I arrived amongst boxes and lots of names to learn and trying to figure out who was who and who knew who and where this was and that was. And with 2 small children, no morning service at the time and lots of illness I didn't really start attending church until March.
One of the great things about being part of this church plant is that actually, we're all new! We're all trying to make friends and figure out where we fit. I've chatted with a few different people these past couple of weeks and for each of them it has taken time for this new place to feel like home. A new place only really starts to feel that way when we start to feel like we are known and these things take time
Cultivating friendships also takes vulnerability, letting our guard down and being open about who we are and where we've come from. Many of you will know that at Werbs part of our vision is we long to 'build an authentic community' where you can come as you are because it's your home, your family, where you don't have to pretend.
But how do we get there?
I've always disliked the question 'What do you do?' Unless someone is telling me about their job and I don't know what they do, I generally avoid the question. What I do love is the question 'what's your story?'. Everyone has one, has something to tell. That's when we begin to really get to know someone.
The amazing author, theologian and scholar C.S. Lewis wrote "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one."
Making friends and trying to fit in is hard going. I've even questioned myself asking 'how did I make friends before?'. Well... I met my closest friend at vicar school when our husbands were training. I'd barely met anyone in my first year in Cambridge where we were living at the time as I'd spend my time commuting to and from London every day for work. Once I went on maternity leave this lovely lady asked if I fancied a coffee and I went along and met her. We chatted and discovered that despite being vicars wives in training, we were both really struggling with going to church. It felt like the sort of thing you shouldn't really say in our current position but we did and we decided that as we had a 'What! You too?' moment we'd become prayer buddies and it went from there.
Within our church I must say that running a Werbs group was one of the best things I could have done in terms of getting to know people here.
It may be a bit of a shameless plug to encourage you to get involved(!) but it's also a true statement, so why not give it a go when the next groups start at the beginning of October...
Having a friend or two changes everything as we switch from outsider, to known and it's wonderful. So let's all keep that in mind when we see new faces at the door or even old faces at the door who really struggle to make friends. Let's keep welcoming new people into our friendship groups remembering how it feels to be an 'outsider'. Let's keep allowing ourselves those moments of vulnerability so we can cultivate deep friendships and grow together in authenticity.
Proverbs 27v9 says "Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight a sweet friendship refreshes the soul".
Now isn't that something!